How to Be Confident - DJing Tips

How to Be Confident

Do you know the one thing that really, properly matters when it comes to being a performer of any stripe? It’s confidence.

– The Secret DJ

Confidence is a must-have when performing in public. If you don’t look calm and confident behind the decks, the crowd will simply resist you trying to lead them with your music. Luckily, there are simple ways to boost confidence while squashing your inner anxiety along the way.

Slow Down

When you’re anxious, you tend to act in a hurried, all-over-the-place manner. Inevitably, you start making mistakes, which only adds up to the anxiety and is far from producing that calm, confident image of yourself.

Try to consciously sl-o-o-o-w down instead. Concentrate on what you are doing at the moment and literally try to do it 2x slower. Setting up your gear? Look at those cables in your hands. Feel them. Plug them in slowly, one… by… one. Trust me, the world is not going to end because of the extra couple of seconds it will take.

Slowing down not only helps you project confidence, it also helps you relax and be in the moment.

Expand Your Physical Presence

When you’re feeling threatened, it’s your body’s natural reaction to protect itself by hunching, crossing your legs, and generally making yourself smaller. When you’re winning and feel on top of the world, you feel expansive, throw your hands in the air and make yourself bigger.

It turns out that expanding your physical presence not only makes you look confident and at ease, it tricks your brain into feeling that way, too. So watch out for any signs of “getting smaller” and deliberately expand your posture. This awesome TED talk has more.

Talk Louder

In the same league as expanding your physical presence, talking a bit louder than usual may help you feel more confident. I don’t mean shouting at people, but raising your voice a bit signals to others that you’re relaxed and in control, helping you feel more confident.

This tip admittedly doesn’t apply when the music is at full blast so you have to shout to be heard anyway… But it can do wonders is quieter settings!

Sip That Water

You wouldn’t be eating or drinking in a life-threatening situation. Sipping your water here and there signals your brain (and the crowd on the dancefloor) that you’re in a safe, familiar setting. And, keeping yourself hydrated is just a common-sense healthy habit.

Look Up and Smile

You know this classic amateur look: Glued to the decks and/or laptop screen, doing their bedroom drill, horrified to look up. Don’t be like that! Make a conscious effort to look at the people on the dancefloor as much as possible. Establish eye contact with them, smile at them and have good time together with your crowd.

Have Plan B

Nothing instills more confidence than knowing that you have plan B in case things go wrong. Having plan B includes:

  • Getting the next track prepared as early as possible. Is this tune OK to play next? Load it in the deck and see if you can find a better one. If not, you’ll still have your OK tune.
  • Knowing a transition or two that don’t involve beatmatching. This will save you if you are unable to beatmatch the incoming tune for some reason and find yourself running out of time.
  • Having a backup audio source. What if your controller and/or laptop fails in the middle of a set? Have a backup audio source (e.g. an old iPod) with a recorded mix ready to go. That will keep the music going while you’re trying to fix the problem.

From my personal experience, these simple tips can go a really long way in instilling more confidence in you, making you a competent and professional public performer. And, of course, actually knowing what you’re doing helps immensely, too. So don’t ditch your DJ practice routine just yet!

How confident are you behind the decks? Any tips or tricks to boost your confidence level? Spill the beans in the comments below 🙂

About the Author JM

JM has played open-air gigs, shared the stage with the likes of ATB and had mix albums released commercially. He has been teaching DJing since 2008.